Sorry again for the long absence! Especially for those who commented- thank you so much for commenting and I’m so sorry it took me almost 2 full weeks to respond! Work should be slowing down for me from now on, so expect to see more of me on this space 🙂
I just got back from a weekend away to the Amalfi Coast and it was absolutely breathtaking! It was so, so pretty!
The Amalfi Coast is a 50-km stretch of coast in Italy, along the southern peninsula. If you havent been, then I highly recommend you book your tickets ASAP! It was so lovely!
Assen and I flew into Naples, as it’s the closest airport, and decided we would rent a car. From Naples to Amalfi Coast is just over an hour if you take the quickest way, or an hour and a half if you decide you want to drive along the coast. My hat goes off to Assen for driving, because the roads are absolutely terrifying! They wind up and down the mountain, are extremely narrow, and Italian drivers will pass on a corner, and speed around a corner in the middle of the road. I had a firm grip on my passenger door handle for most of the drive (affectionately referred to as my “Holy Sh*T handle”).
Upon arriving, we first drove the 30 minutes (approx) to the historical site of Pompeii. I figured while so close, we couldn’t pass it up, and it was great to see. I read many reviews before going of people saying they had spent an entire day there- however Assen and I were happy after just over an hour of wandering around.
For those who weren’t paying attention during history class (guilty!), Pompeii was an ancient Rome town. In 79 AD, the nearby volcano, Mount Vesuvius erupted, killing everyone in the town (an estimated 11,000 people), and burying the town under 5-6 m of volcanic ash. By doing so, it created one of the most well preserved Roman towns, once it was discovered again in 1599.
They have added beautiful, yet heart-breaking statues throughout as you walk through, such as the above picture. I found they made me really think about what it would be like to have been in the city, experiencing the eruption and the panic that it would’ve caused. Assen and I had several conversations about what we would do- would we try and run away? Hide? Help others? I don’t think anyone truly knows until they’re in that moment, but we found it interesting to ponder as we wandered through the streets.
I think because we were there a bit before the tourist season, it was quite quiet, and we often had entire areas to ourselves. Assen had my camera so we decided to snap a few photos of me doing yoga at the goddess temple of Isis (as you do :P). It also made me think of this video- which is a good laugh if you haven’t seen it yet.
For anyone considering going, I highly recommend checking it out. You can literally walk around the entire town, and it’s so well kept that some of the walls even still have the paintings on them from the Roman era.
After an hour of walking around (and then a break for some pizza), we decided to continue on to our hotel. I enjoyed the beautiful views, while Assen focused on the road!
If you do decide to rent a car (which I highly recommend- I can’t imagine being on a bus on those roads!), I recommend getting the smallest car possible. Assen and I played around with getting a convertible, so as to enjoy the views more, but they were all mid-sized cars for that option. We ended up getting a Ford Fiesta (below) and it was perfect for those roads- the smaller the better!
The great thing about these roads is that they have view points quite regularly. I had to stop myself point at things out the window and telling Assen to look at them (this is not a place to distract the driver!)- but instead we pulled over often to enjoy the view.
When we got to our hotel, we immediately went out to the balcony that our room had and enjoyed the view. It was absolutely stunning! I also can’t say enough good things about our hotel- the views were beautiful, we had a balcony with a mini-bed on it, which we enjoyed laying on and enjoying our view. Also, on the last day, we left before breakfast was being served and they brought us coffees, juice, and an assortment of breakfast food (at 5:45 am!). We stayed at Hotel Albergo La Conca Azzurra, and would definitely stay there again. It was more expensive than the usual places we stay at, but compared to a lot of places we looked at, was a lot more reasonable!
The below two pictures is the view we had from our balcony, one from the right and the next from the left.
That night we ate at the hotel restaurant (you could have a three course meal for 25 Euro) and then immediately went to bed (we had gone to bed at 1 am the night before and were up at 3 for our flight, so we were both extremely tired)!
The next morning was raining when we woke up. We had a leisurely breakfast, and then sat out in our balcony (it was covered so we stayed dry) under a blanket. Assen napped and I read my book for a couple of hours. Thankfully, by 12, the clouds went away and the sun came out, so we began exploring!
We decided that for Day 1 we would drive one way, and the next day we would drive the other- therefore only having 25 km driving each day.
We started East, which had one of our first stops at Amalfi. Since we knew we wanted more time there, we decided to continue driving, and then explore Amalfi on our way back.
One thing that I could not get over where the amounts of lemons! Lemon and orange trees where everywhere! The lemons were often being sold and were absolutely gigantic compared to what you normally buy at the grocery store. However, a lot of things that are made with the lemons (the desserts and alcohol) utilise the rind- so if you’re looking for the “meat” of the lemon, then you would be disappointed, as the actual meat part is no bigger than an average lemon, but the rind is just incredibly thick (we saw one that was cut in half and I felt cheated with how small the inside was!)
The below are just a small sampling of the many, many pictures I snapped during our drives that day.
We stopped at Maiori along the way (one of the many towns down the road) and had lunch and then we walked around the beach for a bit.
We headed back after awhile, enjoying a few stops along the way for pictures and just to stare at the amazing scenery,
We arrived at Amalfi mid-afternoon. Just about the time that we decided that a gelato was in order. Many people were enjoying the sun on the steps of the church, so we decided to join them. One tip I have is don’t buy gelato from the square! We had bought gelato the day before and for both of us, was 4 Euro. That day, in the square, our two gelatoes was 12 Euro! It was still delicious but heavily over-priced!
I snapped a picture while sitting on the steps, as the square just felt so Italian to me. There were tables everywhere, the old cracked facade of older buildings in the distance, scooters driving through, and people just taking it easy and relaxing. Italy is one of my favourite places in Europe (if not the favourite) so I just tried to soak up the experience as much as I could.
We next headed up to the town Ravello, which is off the water so perhaps not as well known. However, it was absolutely beautiful. The clouds were starting to roll back in as we were parking our car, so while Assen parked, I snapped the below pictures of the cloud creeping over the mountain.
Ravello has a music festival every year, and I wish we would’ve been there to see it as it looks amazing! It doesn’t start until June/July but appears to go on for most of the summer.
Instead, we looked at the amazing painted ceramics (what Ravello is known for), as well as the stunning views. Once I saw the below scenery, I basically dragged Assen into the closest restaurant so we could continue to stare while we ate! (Basically all we did on this holiday was eat and eat some more!)
Once the sun set, there was a fireworks show (which I didn’t even think to grab a picture of while I watched), and then it was just silence; it felt so peaceful. Assen and I had another 3 course meal (an amazing octupus salad, and I had a lemon cream sauce ricotta, and then a lemon dessert…I was a bit lemon obsessed) and just chatted away. I honestly can’t remember a meal I’ve enjoyed more in a long time, both from the company as well as the food, and is definitely a highlight of the trip.
We headed to bed afterwards on that night, and the next day again had a lazy morning. Assen and I are not morning people, so often when we go on holidays, we relax most of the morning, and then site see later in the day.
The clouds were threatening in again by about 11, so we decided if we were going to see anything, we had to leave our hotel ASAP. The next day we drove the opposite way, instead exploring Sorrento, which is a more touristy, bigger area to see.
We wandered around the marina for hours. Often in Italy, on the side of the streets, there is garbage everywhere. However, the water was so clean and clear- you could see every rock!
I honestly don’t know what we did in Sorrento because it seemed like we had just arrived, ate lunch (delicious fresh mussels- I went seafood crazy while there), wandered around for a bit, and suddenly it was 7 pm! The time just flew by.
We knew we needed to be up early the next day for our flight, so we headed back to our hotel to relax again on the balcony and just enjoy the view. The hotel restaurant had a daily changing menu, so it didn’t feel overly repetitive to eat there twice in three days (I’m usually the person who insists we eat somewhere different every time so that I can experience as many new things as possible).
We were up at 5:30 the next day to catch our flight, however, as I said earlier, the hotel brought us some breakfast food (as well as gave us a parting gift of some pasta and olive oil that they make in-house!) so we enjoyed our final breakfast on our balcony, as the sun was coming up.
It was honestly one of the most relaxing holidays I have had in a really long time. I was sad to pack my things and leave- not because I had more things I wanted to do and see, but just because it was just such a beautiful place. I don’t often say this- but this is a place I could see myself visiting again. Perhaps in the heat of the summer for some relaxing beach time!
As anyone else ever been? I’d love to hear if you enjoyed it as much as I did! Anyone else had any recent travels?